Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought that your hair may be slightly receding? This may be a simple trick of the light, while it could also mean that you’re witnessing the formative stages of male pattern baldness.
This natural phenomenon occurs in seven separate stages over time, and it’s during the second of these that you’re likely to see your hairline recede visibly.
Of course, a receding hairline is not necessarily something that you’d like to see, particularly if you begin to experience male pattern baldness in your late teens or early 20s. But how can you deal with this eventuality, and could shaving your scalp be the best move?
What is a Receding Hairline?
OK, we hear you ask, but what is a receding hairline? If you don’t know, then you’re very fortunate, but this will appear though your hair is creeping back slowly from the front of your scalp.
You should also note that a receding hairline affects the sides of the scalp and the hair around the temples, creating a scenario where your forehead starts to look taller and wider.
In fact, the hair around the temples is often the first to thin during male pattern baldness, as the dreaded ‘M’ shape begins to form around the hairline.
Through the course of male pattern baldness, the hair loss around your hairline will continue to worsen and spread elsewhere. More specifically, the hairline will plunge deeper while you develop an increasingly noticeable bald spot at the back of your head, eventually leaving your completely hairless on your scalp.
You may retain a few thin or wispy patches of hair alongside the patches left beneath each temple, of course, but you should note that the exact progression of this condition may vary slightly from one individual to another.
OK, So What Causes a Receding Hairline?
The condition ‘male pattern baldness’ is also known as androgenetic alopecia, which is the most common cause of a receding hairline in both men and women.
Male pattern baldness is a natural and genetic condition, and one that will often be passed down through families. So, in instances where you have a strong family history of baldness (particularly premature in nature), you’re considerably more likely to see a receding hairline and follow the same pattern of hair loss.
In genetic terms, male pattern baldness and hair loss around the temples is caused by an increased sensitivity to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a by-product of the male hormone testosterone.
DHT is also an androgen or sex hormone, which is responsible for the development of overwhelmingly male characteristics such as a deep voice or hair growth. So, in instances where you’re hypersensitive to DHT, the hair follicles may begin to shrink while your hairline recedes.
Male pattern baldness of this type is a common issue, accounting for the vast majority of receding hairlines and affecting roughly half of the population aged over 50. But are there any other factors that can trigger male pattern baldness?
Well, there’s actually a phenomenon referred to as ‘environmental’ male pattern baldness, which can be triggered by things such as excessing smoking, thyroid disorders and even nutritional deficiencies (which are in turn cased by a poor diet and a fundamental lack of Vitamin A, D and even iron).
Chronic stress can also be a primary trigger for male pattern baldness and a receding hairline. This can refer to either physical or mental stress, which may send signals to the hair follicles and cause them to enter into a so-called “resting phase”. Growth is stopped during resting phases, due to the increased levels of adrenaline that the body releases.
In women, male pattern baldness may also be related to a hormonal condition caused polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In this instance, however, hair loss can be stopped and potential reversed if the triggering hormonal imbalance is addressed.
Can You Prevent a Receding Hairline?
As we’ll explore later in the article, shaving your scalp is a potential way of addressing your receding hairline.
However, we understand that you may not be ready to undertake such a seemingly drastic step when you first begin to notice hair loss around the temples. So, what other options are there in play?
Micropigmentation: This is an increasingly popular and technology advanced option, which sees a full and non-mature hairline being tattooed onto your scalp. While this won’t stimulate growth of your natural hair in any way, it will create an alternative solution to cover the bald or thinning areas on your scalp. Although this works relatively well when you’re younger, it’s incredibly expensive and may begin to look increasingly out of place as you grow older and any remaining hair changes colour.
Surgery or a Hair Transplant: In some cases, you may decide to invest in a hair transplant. There are two types of procedure available here; namely Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). The former is less invasive as it shaves the back of your head and harvests each hair follicle from the scalp, while the latter removes a piece of your scalp and tears into miniscule grafts for your hairline. Regardless of your choice, this will cost a considerably amount of money, while there’s no guarantees over future hair loss (which will continue over time) or the final aesthetic.
Hair Loss Medications: Hair loss medications are another go-to solution, with two clinically tested and proven to deliver some form of tangible results (namely Propecia and Minoxidil). The former is an oral pill that works as a 5-Alpha-Reductase inhibitor drug, which carries multiple side effects if not used correctly. Minoxidil is a topical treatment that’s applied directly to the scalp, while you’ll need to apply a 2% or 5% dosage depending on your precise needs. Choosing a licensed drug and applying it correctly is critical here, while you should know that medication is only a short-term measure to help slow down the course of male pattern baldness.
Hair Growth Shampoo and OTC Products: A less intimidating option is to test out the myriad of over-the-counter (OTC) products aimed at tacking hair loss. Take hair growth shampoo, for example, which serves as a topical solution that offers aims to stimulate optimal growth across the scalp. Once again, however, this type of product must be clinically tested and safe to use, while they’re only likely to deliver incremental results at best. They’re also incapable of stopping or preventing male pattern baldness in the long-term.
Will Shaving Affect my Hairline?
While you may decide to consider one or more of the above options when you first start to lose your hair, there’s a couple of key points to keep in mind here.
Firstly, there’s no method or treatment that you can use to halt the course of male pattern baldness. While you may be able to stimulate slight regrowth or slow the progression of your hair loss, you will ultimately progress through the seven stages and become bald.
Secondly, even more permanent options like micropigmentation and hair transplants are fraught with risk and incredibly expensive, especially when you consider that they don’t change the fact that you’ll eventually lose your hair (or deliver completely reliable results).
This is why shaving your head is arguably a more effective option. Although arriving at this conclusion may take time as you deal with the stress and negative emotions associated with hair loss, but shaving your scalp remains the only surefire away of embracing your new reality and establishing a bold new look.
This is also the most cost-effective option and one that enables you to get on with your life sooner, rather than investing money, time and emotional energy into ultimately futile attempts to reverse or stop hair loss.
The good news is that shaving your head also has no direct impact on your hairline, nor does it expedite hair loss or have any negative impact on future growth.
Going Natural – How Does Shaving Hide Your Hairline?
Ultimately, shaving your head is the natural and decisive response to hair thinning and the formative stages of male pattern baldness, and there are several reasons for this.
Firstly, shaving your head creates a more deliberate look that appears preconceived, while it immediately draws attention away from your hairline or any other bald or thinning patches on your scalp. In this respect, it masks the early signs of your hairline beginning to recede, especially if go completely bald and avoid leaving stubble on your scalp.
If you compare this with other solutions (such as those referenced above), shaving your head is clearly more effective way of hiding your hairline.
For example, micropigmentation and hair transplants create a sudden and immediately obvious change that may actually draw attention to your thinning locks or hair loss issue, whereas medications and OTC products won’t necessarily have a significant enough impact to disguise your receding hairline.
Of course, there are some longer hair styles that may also be used to hide a receding hairline. If you retain relatively long, thick and wavy hair on your scalp, for example, you could experiment with a neat side brushed taper style to hide your hair loss.
While this creates structure and a much younger look, however, it doesn’t necessarily draw attention away from your hairline or disguise it as it continues to shift backwards.
With these points in mind, shaving your head remains the best way of hiding your receding hairline and assuming control of your destiny once you’ve begun to lose your hair around the temples.
OK – So What are the Best Shaven or Short Haircuts for a Receding Hairline?
If you do decide to shave your scalp, you may be a little loath initially to remove all your hair in one fell swoop.
Fortunately, there are similar cuts and styles that you can use to initially tackle your receding hair line before transitioning to a closer shave over time. Here are a few of your options:
#1. The Buzz Cut
We’ll start with the buzz cut, which is a term that’s often used interchangeably (see below for more information on this).
There’s an important distinction between these two styles, however, although both are similar and can be used to effectively mask or disguise a receding hairline.
With a buzz cut, you’ll trim your hair to no more than an inch in length, maintaining a uniform length and look across the top of the scalp, the back and sides.
Typically, you’ll utilise a buzz cut to maintain an incredibly short and neat hairstyle, albeit one that remains slightly longer than a clean-shaven scalp or one with stubble.
If you’re using traditional hair clippers, for example, you may decide to cut your hair using a number one, two or three-blade attachment. The choice is yours, but the key is to experiment with different lengths and maintain this throughout.
#2. The Crew Cut
Next up is the aforementioned crew cut, which differs from a buzz cut as it usually features some form of fade to blend different lengths on the top, back and sides.
In general terms, the back and sides of a crew cut are no longer than a quarter-inch (or a number four comb), while they may also fade down into a number two or one depending on your desired aesthetic.
Typically, the hair on top of your scalp and around your hairline will remain slightly longer, although no longer than an inch in length overall (or the number eight attachment).
This enables you to transition from your current hairstyle in some instances as your hairline recedes, without drawing obvious attention to your loss.
#3. The Regulation Cut
Another popular (albeit slightly longer) cut, the so-called ‘regulation hair style’ has its roots in the military in the UK and US.
Here, you’ll maintain some length on top and around your hair line, although this will be neatly cut and trimmed to help introduce some style. The sides are then blended at the top and tapered off completely, while you can choose precisely how much skin you leave on show above your ear.
The regulation haircut may also feature a side parting, which helps to draw attention away from your receding hairline while enabling you to dictate precisely how your hairline is perceived by others.
#4. The Clean Shave
Finally, you may decide to go all out and embrace the clean shave, a leave just a small amount of stubble on your scalp by removing all attachments from your hair clippers.
This will immediately negate the issue of a receding hairline, by removing this from view as part a deliberate attempt to reinvest and redefine your sense of style.
This remains the boldest and most confident way of embracing your hair loss, while it also affords you ultimate control of how you look and highlights an innate sense of confidence.
Just a word of caution; we’d avoid clean shaving your scalp if you don’t have any discernible facial hair, as this will create a look that lacks definition and may make your head appear as an egg!
The Bottom Line
Most of you will experience some level of male pattern baldness and a hair receding hairline before the age of 50, and this remains a natural process that simply cannot be reversed or stopped.
Because of this, you’ll need to adjust to your thinning locks and changing looks, while identifying the best and most cost-effective solutions to help embrace your new reality and make it work for you.
We’d argue that shaving your head remains the most proactive solution, and one that’s incredibly empowering and enables you to start a brand-new chapter in your life.